Voodoo priest jailed for drug drink
A British shaman and self-proclaimed voodoo priest has been jailed for 15 months for using a sacred drink containing a class A drug at a healing ceremony.
Peter Aziz, 51, made two brews of Ayahuasca with the leaf of the Chakruna plant - which contains the banned drug N-dimethyltriptamene or DMT - which were used during the ceremony in a disused hotel.
The brew, used to bring on hallucinations and which often makes those who drink it vomit, was given to 17 people during a candle-lit ceremony on the week-long religious retreat in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
Aziz, of Buckfastleigh, Devon, denied two counts of producing a class A drug and two counts of supplying a class A drug but a jury found him guilty of all charges after just two-and-a-half hours' deliberation on August 8 following a trial at Bristol Crown Court.
Sentencing, Judge Michael Roach said he reduced the sentence after hearing that Aziz had "wholeheartedly done a lot of good for a lot of people".
"You knew it was wrong to produce this drug and you knew it was wrong to supply it. But produce and supply it you did," said Judge Roach.
"It is a class A drug and I have to take into account that is the most serious form of drugs.
"I bear in mind that from what I have read that it seems ... that you have served to provide assistance to others. But that said there is no doubt in my mind that I have to treat this matter as serious, which means they require a prison sentence."
Aziz gave a small wave to his shocked family in the public gallery as he was led away.